What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding


When I first read the title of this book, I chuckled to myself. Sure, it was a bit on the sarcastic side, if not borderline bitter, but it connected with me at a level I thought was noteworthy. It gets a little awkward when you’re past a certain age and everyone else seems to be busy either getting married or having kids. I’m not really in denial or resistant to either, but what’s-the-rush is more of my attitude.

So when I added this book to my Kindle list of unread books some months ago, I accidentally forgot all about it until very recently when I was about to meet up with my best bud from across the pond. Our reunion was set in Italy and we were looking for reading material to both devour and talk about in person (book nerds, much?). I initially recommended Naomi Wood’s Mrs Hemingway, which ended up becoming the very book we ended up reading, only to come across this on my Kindle by accident and promptly asking for a change of plans. I was too late, but as soon as I returned home, I started reading it, regardless.

So, Newman takes a little getting used to. If you liked Eat, Pray, Love and was an avid Sex & The City fan, this is the book for you. The book is divided in terms of trips to different locations, and the travel experience becomes as much a part of the locale as the relationships / flings do. The writing often felt intimate and some of the chapters even felt lifted straight out of a journal entry, and as such were often too divulging in their details. The majority of the book has a rather apologetic tone, the kind you might use with a close friend: I wanted to do this, but you see, I did this because…. I found this unbearably annoying and just wish she could own up to her experiences without needing to justify them. Where she was most honest about her insecurities and personal reservations is where I think the book was at its best because it provided an accessible and personal take on the author; the instances where this was done were limited, though.

Ultimately, this book wasn’t for me. I would say it’s mostly targeted to an American audience that has had a much more limited experience of travel. It all seemed a bit immature to me, but someone reading this could potentially choose to live vicariously through Newman’s experiences.

Ironically my best bud stumbled across this very book at the airport gate on her way back to the US. She’s reading it too, and I can’t wait to hear her take on it because maybe I’m the one who got rubbed the wrong way while reading. Maybe I’m just too damn foreign.

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